Summit Treestands
Bag meat and put in creek
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
DonVathome 01-Aug-08
ElkNut1 01-Aug-08
Bigpizzaman 01-Aug-08
snag 01-Aug-08
Ron Niziolek 01-Aug-08
mn_archer 01-Aug-08
Kurve 01-Aug-08
ElkNut1 01-Aug-08
mn_archer 01-Aug-08
sticksender 01-Aug-08
ElkNut1 01-Aug-08
Marc W. 01-Aug-08
ElkNut1 01-Aug-08
bohuntr 01-Aug-08
Matt 01-Aug-08
Ziek 01-Aug-08
Outfitter 01-Aug-08
midwest@work 01-Aug-08
Matt 01-Aug-08
midwest 01-Aug-08
Beendare 01-Aug-08
sticksender 01-Aug-08
BIGHORN 01-Aug-08
BullCrazy 01-Aug-08
Jeff270 01-Aug-08
noelkman 01-Aug-08
Rob 01-Aug-08
DonVathome 05-Aug-08
>>>---WW----> 05-Aug-08
Raghorn 05-Aug-08
St. Croix 05-Aug-08
DonVathome 05-Aug-08
tom stapf 05-Aug-08
Forager 05-Aug-08
CPAhunter 05-Aug-08
tom stapf 05-Aug-08
Manhartt 05-Aug-08
Barclay 05-Aug-08
Forager 05-Aug-08
bb 05-Aug-08
squirrel 05-Aug-08
Barclay 05-Aug-08
WapitiBob 06-Aug-08
medicinemann 06-Aug-08
DonVathome 06-Aug-08
GBTG 06-Aug-08
bb 06-Aug-08
Huh 06-Aug-08
midwest@work 06-Aug-08
DonVathome 06-Aug-08
From: DonVathome
01-Aug-08
How long will meat least by putting meat in a garbage bag (then another to be safe) and putting it in a cold creek? Many others have so I will do this from now on. 12 garbage bags, sturdy, double bag and put in water, cools meat fast and keeps it cool. IMO best bet and I bet will keep meat a while, but wet and dark is not good = mold etc.

This is a great plan to cool meat, but as we all know dark and moist = mold & bacteria.

My question is simple does anyone have any idea how long you can keep meat like this? Ignore spoilage due to temperature. I am talking about spoilage do to dark and moisture - no water from creek gets in but meat will be damp and not drying in a plastic bag.

I would think pulling it out every other day to dry and get light (cool time of day) might make this last.

Can you keep meat like this for a week?

Last year I suspened meat on branches just over a creek and it worked but I doubt it would have worked for a long time.

From: ElkNut1
01-Aug-08
I thought this to be interesting & will try it this year, I'm positive from past experience that it's good solid info! I've done some of the things partially but will take it further if need be, good info to read here!!

COOLING THE MEAT

COOL THE MEAT QUICKLY IN WATER: In the field, you want to cool your meat quickly because the sooner the meat is cool, the better the meat will be. You should bleed, gut and skin your animal as soon as you can. Next, you need to reduce the temperature of the meat. If you are near a stream or lake, you can submerge the quarters to bring the temperature down. Do not cool completely in water. Retain enough heat to dry the meat when it comes out of the water. For water cooling, I carry a sheet of plastic "visquine" and spread it out in a lake or stream. Once the animal is quartered, I lay the meat on the visquine and let it cool for twenty-five minutes to an hour (depending on the mass of the meat).

Advertisement WHY WATER COOL YOUR MEAT? A bath in a stream or lake speeds the cooling process and bleaches out excess blood that feed bacteria and attracts flies. Alaska game animals have a very large meat mass. Consequently, it takes a long time for the meat to cool down. The cold water temperature of the lakes and streams in Alaska help expedite the cooling process.

WATER COOLING CONCERNS: (1). I've been told by several hunters that you should avoid getting meat wet. This is partially true; you don't want to leave meat wet. This is why you retain enough heat in the meat to cause drying once you remove it from the water (also see air drying for procedures to remove excess water). (2). I've also heard concerns about Giardia in the water getting into the meat. While I can't guarantee the purity of the water or possible transfer of bacteria to your meat, I can say that I have never heard of anyone getting sick from water cooled meat, and I talk with a lot of hunters. The decision is yours based upon the conditions at your location, cleanliness of water and outside temperature. Tests have also been done in Canada by Bailight, which show the strong acid in citric acid should take care of Giardia and will also help kill types of bacteria.

AIR DRYING/STORING MEAT IN THE FIELD

AFTER WATER COOLING: After you have brought the temperature of the meat down, you're ready to begin air drying. If you are near water, there is normally a gentle breeze at all times. Hang the meat in such a way as to take advantage of this air movement. Protect the meat from the warm sun with some sort of shelter. I bring a light weight tarp for this purpose

REMOVE EXCESS MOISTURE: Once the meat is hung under the tarp, run your hands down it to squeeze out and remove any excess moisture.

APPLY LEMON JUICE MIXTURE OR CITRIC ACID: Lightly coat the meat with a lemon juice mixture (see game bags). This will create a high acid protective glaze over the meat while it is drying.

PLACE IN GAME BAGS: When the meat is dry, it's ready to place in the game bags and rehang.

From: Bigpizzaman
01-Aug-08
White vinigar will also work to kill bacteria and form a crust.

From: snag
01-Aug-08
I like the white vinegar idea Big. Vinegar is a natural anti-bacterial sterilizing agent.

From: Ron Niziolek
01-Aug-08
I have cooled elk and deer meat in water much as Elknut1 described. I've been doing this for the past 20+ years with excellent success. It works.

From: mn_archer
01-Aug-08
Paul,

While I respect the hell out of you, that sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. If I kill an elk it is to important to me to expirement on cooling options. That entire process goes against verything we have ever been taught about meat care. Besides, where we hunt the evening air temps are cooler than the water anyway.

good hunting-

michael

From: Kurve
01-Aug-08
why is cooling the meat with the aid of water and then letting it air dry a disaster waiting to happen?

From: ElkNut1
01-Aug-08

ElkNut1's embedded Photo
ElkNut1's embedded Photo

ElkNut1's Link
Michael, no problem! This info is from a professional Butcher, not just another hunter! We have used water for cooling meat in the past as well, some not by choice! (grin) The key is to get the meat cool in hot unforgiving weather & still leave enough heat in the meat to dry the outside naturally, hence the point in leaving in water no more than an hour depending on size, 30 minutes is adequate.

This bull was in the water for 3 hours, no problem at all with meat. No bacteria issues or spoilage to say the least!

ElkNut1

From: mn_archer
01-Aug-08
I misread your post then, I was getting the idea that you were leaving it in there for much longer. How do you get it dry before the flies hit it?

I would think you would want it dry before you put it in a gamebag so the bag stays as dry as possible as well-

michael

From: sticksender
01-Aug-08
For me, actual experience speaks volumes.

Sometimes what we may've been "taught" could be nothing more than wive's tales. As in the tales which once caused guys to slash open the neck on a carcass to "bleed him out". Or to remove tarsal glands and gonads to keep from "spoiling the whole animal". Those falsehoods were dismissed as hunters became more open-minded and more knowledgeable.

Some wive's tales still persist however. One I'll cite is: "Meat needs to breathe". Sure, if you have chosen to use air to cool your meat, such as by hanging your quarters in trees in game bags, then yes air circulation will get that specific job done. It's called convection. But once the meat temp has cooled below 40 degrees or so, air flow across it's surface is no longer desirable. Once that temp range is reached, I can feel free to place meat inside plastic bags, squeeze all the air out, and dunk 'em in a 35-40 degree creek if one is nearby, or preferably, on ice.

Myself, I like to get meat on ice ASAP, rather than leaving it in a shady creek for more than a day or so. That way I don't have to worry about a bear or other critter finding it. Once on ice, it's good a week to ten days before freezing becomes necessary.

.

From: ElkNut1
01-Aug-08
You are absolutely correct in needing the meat dry before putting in gamebags. Go back & re-read the post, it explains it all right there how it dries with your aid. Keeping flies off is also mentioned along with whatever it takes. Biggest thing is to make sure there are no flies on it when put into bags. A few flies dinging around the meat for a few minutes while it dries is not going to be a problem, fan them with a bough if need be, sorta whatever it takes to care for the meat!!

ElkNut1

From: Marc W.
01-Aug-08
I have never butchered an animal in the field but was under the impression that ounce you take the meat off the bone it goes directly into a game bag and then hung in the shade to cool.If done this way am I at risk for ruining my meat.??

From: ElkNut1
01-Aug-08

ElkNut1's Link
Marc W. no you are not! Guys this info on cooling your meat is for conditions where it's not possible to get back to your rig/camp with it within a reasonable amount of time to cool meat & hang it.

When faced with conditions where meat spoilage is a real factor to deal with the water thing is an option to consider. Hanging meat to cool is another. The key is getting the meat cooled down & in bags. If the water method is needed, do it, don't chance it. If not, great! Be prepared mentally & physically to do what is necessary not to lose any meat!

ElkNut1

From: bohuntr
01-Aug-08
Great post Paul. It sure gives a guy another option under the right set of circumstances.

From: Matt
01-Aug-08
IMO it is not that complicated. We have never been in a position to use water to help cool the meat and it has never been a problem. Get the meat cooled as quickly as possible by whatever means you have available, let it dry/skin over and then put it into some type of game bag and then into some type of covering to protect it from flies and so forth.

Back to the question at hand: your meat should not be moist per se once it goes into the game bag and then into a garbage bag. Dark or not, the lack of moisture coupled with cool temperatures will inhibit bacterial growth.

From: Ziek
01-Aug-08
"You should bleed, gut and skin your animal..."

Anything recommended by someone telling you to "bleed" an animal is automatically suspect!

In my experience, anywhere the air is too warm to hang a critter, at least at night, will also have water too warm for cooling meat.

I have packed hogs in ice in really hot weather with good results. It should work with any game.

From: Outfitter
01-Aug-08
Someone mentioned using garbage bags to put meat in . Most garbage bags have deoderant inside them to kill bacteria and smell . I would not suggest using these for meat, cooling quickly and using vinegar are sound advice tho.

From: midwest@work
01-Aug-08
I use the heavy contractor bags for meat.

Matt, How do you let it dry skin over and keep the flies at bay? Is this where the vinegar or citrus spray comes in?

From: Matt
01-Aug-08
Quite honestly, I have never had much of a problem with the flies. And if I did I would put the meat into meat bags and then hang it to cool.

Having said that, I do not put myself in a position where I have to store the meat for multiple days before getting it on ice either.

From: midwest
01-Aug-08
Okay, here's my plan when I get my elk down (how's that for confidence!)--

1 hr. photo session.

Bone out elk gutless method.

Divvy meat into 4 Alaska game bags as it comes off.

Hang bags in cool shaded spot.

Pack game bags back to base camp in as many trips as required to again hang in cool shaded spot.

After meat is completely cooled, transfer to plastic bags and store in cooler on ice.

Does this sound reasonable?

From: Beendare
01-Aug-08
I've done it on Kodiak with plastic bags inside of dry bags (sunk in a lake) to keep the large cuddlys out of camp. Its a good idea to drain the excess blood off periodically.

From: sticksender
01-Aug-08
midwest: um-hmm

Except maybe in the case when I'm solo, without pack animals, and 5-8 miles from the truck. If there happens to be an ice-cold stream at camp, and I can't haul it all out in one day, I'd use the stream for a day. Temp is more stable in the water than the air.

But I want it on ice ASAP.

From: BIGHORN
01-Aug-08
A friend, that was with me on a float trip in Alaska, and I killed three caribou. We quartered the animals, carried them back to camp, put the meat in the cold river water for about 1 hour, pulled them out and dried the meat, put the quarters into black plastic bags and back into the water overnight.

After a couple of days we got to Anchorage and we deboned the meat in a hotel parking garage, put it in meat boxes (70 lbs. limit) and froze the meat overnight. We got it home and I cut it up and when I took burger meat to the butcher to to mixed with fat he smelled it and was surprized that it was in such good shape. He said that most meat coming back has already spoiled.

Well, the process worked for us.

From: BullCrazy
01-Aug-08
Midwest, that is how I have done it on a number of occasions and I have had great results.

From: Jeff270
01-Aug-08
Re: Giardia

I would think that as long as your cooking the meat prior to eating it, you wouldn't have an issue.

Jeff

From: noelkman
01-Aug-08
"My question is simple does anyone have any idea how long you can keep meat like this? "

Can't say...the bears have never let us keep it this way over 24 hours.

Generally throw the canvas meat bag in the stream for a couple hours then hang in the shade until we can get it out. Cools just like an old canvas radiator bag.

From: Rob
01-Aug-08
Won't the meat cool quicker if you de bone it first? Also, could you put the de boned meat in an Alaskan game bag and the put it in a creek for awhile or maybe even in a cooler with ice or should the game bag be dry? What about the white vinegar? Elaborate on this if you would?

Thanks, Rob

From: DonVathome
05-Aug-08
FYI water at 40 degrees will cool meat a lot faster then air at 40 degrees. Also most times I elk hunt water is a lot cooler then air, gets hot during the day.

Under the right circumstances I think this is a great option. Good input, thanks.

Normally I bone out, stuff in AK game bags and hang in cool place but cold creeks can help if it is warmer.

Good idea about using it only a while to cool initially.

05-Aug-08
Don: To answer your question in a simple way------!

If you put the meat in a plastic bag, it will not get wet. So look at it this way. How long will meat keep in a refridgerator? It is dark and cold in the fridg also.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with your idea. But I would drain the blood off every so often. But it should be fine for a couple of days and that should be plenty long enough to get the meat off the mountain.

From: Raghorn
05-Aug-08
On a side note;

Most garbage bags are made of “recycled resin”. They are not rated as food grade”. Stay away from black, brown or gray bags. Use white or translucent trash bags, they are almost always made of new virgin resin, i.e. “food grade”.

Depending on a lot of things, but many mountain streams are 35% to 40%, the same as the average refrigerator. If you hang the meat to dry and start cooling, then double bag, I suspect it would keep for days.

From: St. Croix
05-Aug-08
How about the green Cabelas bags, will they work??? I have a TON of them! LOL

Seriously guys, keep the tips coming, this is a great topic and we can all learn from each other!

From: DonVathome
05-Aug-08
My biggest worry was water getting in, small hole, top, etc. Obviously I would be carefull and check it nad double bag it. Then again even if some water does get in likely it will not matter.

Many times it is 60-80 during the day, sunny, nothing compares to the ice cold mountain streams. I am not sure what temps they are but I know my feet go numb within 2 minutes trying to wade them with boots and socks off. Very hard to wade with numb feet!

I think this is a great plan for cooling moose in Ak too. Future plans.

From: tom stapf
05-Aug-08
We've always put dressed deer in creeks where convenient to clean blood from the body cavity and gain whatever cooling a "quick bath" would give. But I never thought I'd ever put "cut meat" in the water. After thinking it through, i guess there really is no difference... this thread has me second guessing.

Even if you don't put the meat in the water un-wrapped, it seems putting the meat in plastic bag and cooling in the creek for an hour would tremendously speed the cooling process. Plus make the meat more "managable". Cool meat is easier to work with so drying and bagging would just plain be easier after it's cooled in the stream for a bit.

Somthing new everyday...

From: Forager
05-Aug-08
Re: Cooling in a stream. Sounds good to me, I've thought about doing the same thing (but not yet tried it) on the Olympic Peninsula, which has some of the same challenges of remoteness and (black) bears, but plenty of water.

Just to clarify, it's not just that the temp of water is more stable than air, as said above it has a higher "heat capacity" which means it cools a warm mass exposed to it much more at a given temperature. That's why a day with 40 degree day is brisk, whereas a 40 degree river is death sentence in just a few minutes. In practical terms water will suck your body heat (or an elks) much MUCH MUCH faster than air even at exactly the same temp.

Something to consider: lots of medium sized bags (versus a few big ones) will get you more water to meat contact and also minimize the risk, if any of leaks.

From: CPAhunter
05-Aug-08
This might be a crazy idea, but any thoughts?

There are a few hand-pump vacuum sealers on the market now. What if you debone your meat and seal it up in large bags and submerge it in water to keep cool? It might be a little more weight packing in, but not substantial to take a roll of bags and the hand pump.

From: tom stapf
05-Aug-08
CPA, I think you'd need to get the meat cool, dry and drained before you seal it tight. That Might be a good thing to leave at the truck and do right before you put it in the coolers on ice for the ride home though.

From: Manhartt
05-Aug-08
As far as hanging to air dry and keep the fly's at bay - why not place a thurmacell next to it for a couple hours? (depending on wind of course)

From: Barclay
05-Aug-08
Thermacell sounds like a good idea.

Anybody tried spraying meat with PAM cooking spray to keep off the yellowjackets etc? Our local meatpacker recommends it but I have not tried it yet.

From: Forager
05-Aug-08
Re: PAM.

Haven't tried it (like you, I'm interested to know more).

If no one else speaks up, I've certainly heard that sprinkling the meat with Black pepper is a very popular and effective way to keep yellow jackets at bay.

From: bb
05-Aug-08
"There are a few hand-pump vacuum sealers on the market now. What if you debone your meat and seal it up in large bags and submerge it in water to keep cool? It might be a little more weight packing in, but not substantial to take a roll of bags and the hand pump."

Don't do that, If you are going to vacuum seal it, it needs to be frozen right away, the lack of air will promote the growth of the bacteria that causes botulism. The same holds true for thawing meat that has been vacuum sealed, you neead to cut an opening in the bag to allow air in while it thaws.

From: squirrel
05-Aug-08
Small sideways step here, lot's on here gripe about yellow jackets on their meat -- what the hell damage do they do-- never been stung they are too much into the meat- they don't lay eggs like those @#$% flies. Other than "buggin" you what do they hurt? On topic I've often washed 1/4's in the stream usually because of literal dirt with a side benifit of cooling but have never done it long term for storage, interesting topic carry on...

From: Barclay
05-Aug-08
Squirrel, Yellowjackets are attracted to downed game because they eat meat, especially in late summer and fall. Unlike bees, they can sting multiple times. Persons who are stung may suffer anaphalactic shock, or just a few annoying stings, etc.

The point of using PAM, black pepper, Thermacell, etc is not just to keep away yellowjackets, but also flies etc which do lay eggs in the meat.

Good to hear you've never been stung by a yellowjacket. I have, many times, and it is not pleasant.

From: WapitiBob
06-Aug-08
From Purdue University

"Wet aging occurs when meat and its own juices are vacuum packed in plastic and boxed for distribution. Because the plastic packaging does not allow loss of moisture, the meat may absorb more moisture which results in an increase in juiciness and tenderness. Both methods of aging work well and can create a better product. The difference is that dry aging gives a more distinctive flavor while wet aging is much less costly and allows for a quicker entry to the market and therefore a much longer shelf-life."

Almost all the meat you eat in a restaurant is wet aged.

From: medicinemann
06-Aug-08
When I killed my Dall ram a couple weeks ago, we put the meat into plastic garbage bags and then immersed them in glacial runoff water. It worked great....and the meat never got wet.

From: DonVathome
06-Aug-08
thermacell - good idea! Might have to try it too - great idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From: GBTG
06-Aug-08
It's worked for me. I did it for 4 days once. The meat did get wet although I was hoping the bag wouldn't leak. I put it in coolers with ice after packing it out and then rinsed it with fresh water at home(18 hr drive). Wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

From: bb
06-Aug-08
"Almost all the meat you eat in a restaurant is wet aged."

They are able to keep the temps below 40* consistently. You are taking a big risk attempting to do that in the field.

From: Huh
06-Aug-08

Huh's Link
Why not use dry bags instead of trash bags? See link for a lightweight option. You can organize your clothing and use the bags to pack initially and follow up by cooling meat in them....just a thought.

From: midwest@work
06-Aug-08
I was thinking the same thing, Huh. But may be cost and weight prohibitive.

I would use the heavy duty construction garbage bags.

From: DonVathome
06-Aug-08
Dry bags are not going to spike camp, this is an option that the more I think about it can be a godsend in some scenarios. Anything remote, if it is hot and you are alone, take out a few garbage bags (I always carry) stuff meat in, build a dam in cold creek, bang cold meat quick. Use both for initial cooling and to keep cool. Check daily for leaks and keep meat dry if possible. Get out asap.

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